Chapter 16

Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland

Joe Gillis Rating 0 (0) (0) Launched: Mar 06, 2024
Season: 1 Episode: 16

Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland
Chapter 16
Mar 06, 2024, Season 1, Episode 16
Joe Gillis
Episode Summary

"Every chapter gets better and better. Can't wait to read more. Have no idea where this is going and loving it." - Ryan McKinney, Writer and Director, The Invited | In a world on the brink of destruction, Joe continues his journey in an edge-of-your-seat adventure as he faces the desolate aftermath of a global cataclysm head-on. | S1E3 Chapter 16: An alarm alerts Joe to a potential intruder, but it turns out to be a deer, prompting him to secure the bunker further. | A humorous sci-fi serial fiction podcast from author Joe Gillis. Catch a new chapter of Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland Wednesdays. Join Joe's Community at Read this chapter at

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Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland
Chapter 16
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"Every chapter gets better and better. Can't wait to read more. Have no idea where this is going and loving it." - Ryan McKinney, Writer and Director, The Invited | In a world on the brink of destruction, Joe continues his journey in an edge-of-your-seat adventure as he faces the desolate aftermath of a global cataclysm head-on. | S1E3 Chapter 16: An alarm alerts Joe to a potential intruder, but it turns out to be a deer, prompting him to secure the bunker further. | A humorous sci-fi serial fiction podcast from author Joe Gillis. Catch a new chapter of Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland Wednesdays. Join Joe's Community at Read this chapter at

Welcome Wastelanders to the Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland Audiobook Podcast! My name is Joe Gillis, and I’m the writer and narrator of this Serial Fiction Series. We’re in Chapter 16 this week, but there are more chapters headed your way, so be sure to subscribe.

Also, if you stay until the very end, you’ll get a peek behind the page with a quick tidbit about this chapter.

The story so far…

The world as we knew it was all but gone. Joe was safe from it all in his underground missile complex. Only problem was that he was alone… that was until he discovered he wasn’t. Turned out that his tennis ball was in fact a talking tennis ball named Bally. His new BFF encouraged Joe to dress appropriately for the post-apocalypse, so Joe did just that after giving Bally his own make over—drawing on eyes and a mouth. The two were having fun with each other when an alarm went off.

Chapter 16

Red emergency lights swirled along the walls, illuminating the room in a sweeping crimson glow as an audible alarm repeated in a two-beep succession over and over.

“What’s that?” Bally asked.

“It’s my proximity alarm. It’s letting me know something has breached the gates.”

“Oh, uh, that’s not good.”

“Actually, it’s great news. That means someone is still alive.”

“Or someone, or someones, is here to try to overtake your facility. Remember all your post-apocalyptic training, you know, like the Mad Max movies or Dawn of the Dead. There are always bad guys trying to steal other people’s resources or take over their safe places, usually making them unsafe in the process.”

I thought about it for a second. “Hmm, you’re right, it could be getting pretty bad out there. We should to get over to Ops to check it out.”

“That sounds like a good idea.”

Bally and I rushed over to the Operations Room, so I could pull up the cameras near the fence.

“Deer?! A freakin’ deer!”

“You sound disappointed.”

“Yeah, I am. Deep down I was hoping for people.”

“You should feel relieved.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because I don’t think you and I could properly defend this place by ourselves.”

“But wouldn’t it be great to have more people here?”

“You bet. There’s just one problem with that.”

“What’s that?”

“Human nature. What The Walking Dead or any other post-apocalypse story has always taught us—bad guys are everywhere, and there’s more bad guys than good guys. In fact, I think you should turn off the lights outside. All it’s doing is giving away our location, letting the bad guys know where to go.”

That’s a pretty good point.

I was so caught up in finding other people that I forgot about security, and Bally knew it.

“Did you lock the entrance door?”


“I think we should go do that right now.”

We hurried up to the entrance and locked it down.

“Any other ways in?”


“Good. Let’s go turn off that alarm and outdoor lights.”

We waited for the deer to venture back out, then I switched off the lights and reset the alarm.

Bally and I had so much fun together. We’d play catch together. We ran through the halls together. We played jokes on each other. We watched TV together—which was just static, so instead we’d act out movies most of the time. The only problem was that I was having a hard time remembering a lot of movies or TV shows I’d seen in the past. I used to be able to quote lines from my favorite movies with no hesitation. Now it seemed that the blows against my old noggin must have caused some permanent damage to my memory. I really thought my memory would come back. Instead, I went from having a photographic memory to something that’s nowhere near that, unless you include a tin can pinhole camera that would only expose one photo at a time—and it wasn’t quick or easy to grab another photo.

“You don’t seem too bad to me,” Bally interjected.

“Awe, thanks, man.”

 We were re-enacting Dirty Dancing and we were at the final scene. Bally embodied Baby to a tee. He was quite the actor. After entering the room, I spotted Bally seated at the table—except there was a problem. So I strutted over to let Bally’s dad know how I felt about it.

“Nobody puts Bally in a corner.”

Reaching out my hand, Bally took it, and I spun him around, before giving my best Patrick Swayze solo dance.

I nodded to Bally to let him know it was time.

His eyes widened.

I smiled.

Bally smiled back, then he ran (rolled) toward me and jumped (bounced) into my arms. I lifted him above my head flawlessly, just like in the movie. If Bally had arms, they’d have flung out in a perfect pose.

“Jennifer Grey, eat your heart out!” Bally shouted with joy.

“No doubt, that was amazing!” I continued to hold Bally aloft.

“Dude, I know what we should do next. ‘Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.’”

I followed with a line of my own. “There are no points for second place.”

“TOP GUN!” We shouted out in unison.

“Heck yeah!” I knew immediately who I wanted to play. “Can I be Maverick?”

“So I’ll be Charlie and Goose?”

“Yeah, if you’re cool with that.”

“I would never, never ever leave my wingman without a Charlie or Goose.”

“You’re the best wingman ever!”

“Or wing woman, in this case,” Bally just smiled at me. “I feel the need…” then I chimed in with him. “The need for speed.”

We did some awesome flying. Some of it was while sitting down, moving side to side as I worked the controls. At other points, I used my arms as my wings, holding Bally in my right hand, as we flew around.

Then I finally met Charlie and I sang to her. The tension was high between our characters, eventually leading to her calling out my flying in front of the rest of the pilots.

“I can’t believe you called out my awesome inverted flying. I mean, come on, that’s something no one but a Maverick like myself could do.”

“I know, but I couldn’t let them know just how hot I think you and your flying are,” Bally said in his feminine Charlie voice.

“Now let’s cut to that love scene,” I interjected. “Remember the tongue action here. There was lots of tongue touching.”

I touched my tongue to his. Well, I guess it was more like me licking him since he doesn’t really have a tongue, then I stared into Charlie’s eyes.

“You take my breath away, Charlie.”

“I don’t remember him saying that in the movie,” Bally said, breaking character.

“Yeah, but we don’t have the rights to the song.”

“Good point,” he then got back into character. “This is going to be complicated.”

“I’ll let you know tomorrow.”

“Whoosh,” we cut to me flying around the room with my arms as my wings, holding Bally in my right hand.

I banked right. I banked left. The MiG followed suite.

“I can’t shake him. I can’t shake him. Talk to me, Bally.”

“He’s still on your six. I think it’s time for one of those ‘dangerous’ Maverick moments.”

“Got it. I’m going to hit the brakes and he’ll fly right by.”

I hit the brake, whipping us backwards, and the trailing MiG passed under us. “Whoosh.”

“Yee haw! Go get him, Mav!”

I got missile lock on the MiG. “Got a lock, firing,” the MiG was destroyed. “KA-BOOM!”

“Dude, we nearly forgot the volleyball scene!” Bally exclaimed.

“Oh, yeah!”

“You know, Top Gun was very homoerotic… not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

“True dat! Secret love that you can’t talk about, and they even named her Charlie? I mean, come on! Right?”


“They should have totally remade it with Charlie as a dude. I mean, the whole ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ thing was gone—it would have worked. You wouldn’t even need to change a whole lot of the script. The hard part would be sneaking in heteroerotic stuff the next time around.”

“No doubt. It was pretty gay. But isn’t that what we just did?”

“Yeah, we did!” I smiled.

Bally and I finished up the movie and decided that the next movie we would do was A Trip to the Moon.

Things were going great until we hit the point where we left for the moon.

“And then we shoot the rocket at the moon. Okay, Bally you got this.”

“Why do I have to play the moon?”

“Well, um, it’s because…”

“Because what?”

“You know, it’s, uh, well how do I put it…”

“Is it because I’m round? Is that it?!”

He had me backed into a corner, and I knew where he was going with this one. I didn’t quite know how to answer it without him seeing me as a ball-ist. “Well, uh, yes.” I sheepishly answered.

“Really, Joe? Really?”

“I mean, it—it, you know, kinda makes sense.”

“Come on, I expected more from you, Joe.”

“Well, you do look more like the moon than I do.”

He just paused and stared me down with anger and in a super judge-y way. “How would you like a rocket in your eye, hmm?”

I really didn’t know how to respond to that one.

“How about we just go back to watching some static?”

“I guess. We haven’t flipped through the channels for a few days.”

Since Bally and I were taking a break from acting things out, it did seem like a good idea to scan the channels. Even though it had been weeks, if not months, I still hoped that we would somehow get news on what was happening in the world.

We were searching through the static for a while in silence. I realized I needed to take the high road and put an end to this not talking thing we were doing.

“Sorry about that, Bally. You know I’m not a—a…” I tilted my head side-to-side a few times before finishing. “Uuuh, you know…” I gestured with my hands for him to help me with the word.

“A ball-ist?”


“Yeah, I know,” he continued. “But if we ever reenact Cast Away, I’m going to be the Tom Hanks character. You know,” he turned to me. “What’s his name in that film?” I just shrugged, and shook my head, not remembering. “Well, whatever character Tom Hanks played, I’m going to be that guy, and you’re going to be Wilson.”

“Fair enough.”

We sat there in awkward silence before I spoke up again. “But don’t you think…”

“Don’t even say it.”

“I wasn’t going to.”

“Sure, Joe. Sure, you weren’t.”

“Dude, I’ll totally be your Wilson anytime.”

He didn’t respond. He just stared at me like he was trying to size up whether or not I was being honest with him.

“We cool?” I asked.

“Of course.”

“I have an idea. Just hang out here.”

“You got it, buddy.”

Puppetry always fascinated me, so much so that it was one of my classes in college. We were lacking a lot of parts I might need for hand puppets, whereas I had all the materials easily accessible that were crying out to be turned into shadow puppets—mostly because my hands would be filling in for most of it.

It didn’t take long to gather up all the supplies; now cutting out all the pieces, that took a little more time. My back was facing Bally so he couldn’t see what I was working on. In my head, I imagined that he was seeing something akin to Edward Scissorhands cutting hair with paper flying everywhere instead of hair.

“Hey, Joe.”

“What’s up, Bally?”

“As much as I enjoy watching the back of you doing who knows what, I was wondering if we could go and play some catch or something. What do you think?”

“I’m getting close. How about we play catch after you see what I want to show you?”

“Sure thing.”

Cut after cut, the paper transformed into shapes that would help fill in the people, ships, and even the moon. With some unraveling and snips, a wire coat hanger became my rod for the rocket ship. All that was left to finish off the cutouts was to prep them with masking tape.

In order to bring the shapes to life, I decided to use my projector as the light source to cast my hand shadows on the wall.

“You ready?”

“I sure am. What you got for me?”

“My shadow puppet version of A Trip to the Moon.”


“I wasn’t sure if you’d like it.”

“Nah, Le Voyage dans la Lune is a classic. I don’t know if you know this, but it was considered by many scholars to be the first science fiction movie.”

“Really? Very cool. Well, I hope I don’t let you down. My memory’s been somewhat foggy lately.”

“I bet you’ll do Georges Méliès proud. Hey, did you know that A Trip to the Moon was in color?”

“But they didn’t have color film stock back in the silent era.”

“True, the film stock was black and white. What they would do sometimes in the silent era was hand tint the films. Many of the A Trip to the Moon prints were hand-colored, and cost nearly twice as much as a black and white print to purchase. Between you and me, it sounded like a steal considering the colorists Élisabeth and Marie-Berthe Thuillier had something like a team of 200 people painting these things.”

“Dang, that’s a lot of people.”

“Not just people, the mother-daughter team oversaw a workshop of all women. Pretty darn progressive for the late 1800s, early 1900s. Then again, maybe not since they might have been treating them as cheap labor and what not. But the Thuilliers were true colorists, selecting the colors and directing the workers on what color to apply where. Basically they created an assembly line of painting, where each worker only applied one color. Often with more than twenty colors per film.”

“That must have been time consuming.”

“Probably not any more than cutting the whole thing by hand,” he cracked.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it.”

“Man, that took like forevvvver.”

“It will be worth it.”

“I can’t wait to see it.”

With a flip of a switch, the lights dimmed and it was showtime.

Shadows cast upon the wall came to life, as I retold the movie with my shadow puppets. By the end, I wasn’t sure if Bally liked it. After a long dramatic pause, he started bouncing short, rapid bounces, which sounded an awful lot like clapping… well, at least I hoped it was. And then he confirmed it.

“That was like, brilliant, Joe.”

“Thanks, man.”

“Alright, you ready to go throw me around and play a little catch?”

“You had me at throw.”

Tossing Bally back and forth to myself was when it all went wrong. Missing one of the catches sent him rolling toward a hole. There was no time to waste. He inched closer and closer. Leaping into action, I lunged across the floor, reaching out for him as I slid, coming within milli-inches of touching him. It felt like I was in a slow-mo recap with me diving to catch a pop fly that was way in front of me, except there was no celebration for an amazing play. Instead, Bally vanished into the hole.

            “Nooooooo!!!” I screamed out before getting on my knees, reaching out into the heavens, pleading for my lost pal, “BALLY!!!”

Let’s find out what happened next…

That concludes Chapter 16 of Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland. Written by Joe Gillis and read by Joe Gillis.

Oh man, Joe just can’t catch a break, can he? Do you think he’ll find his new BFF, or will he be lost forever? I guess, more importantly, will Joe realize he wasn’t real to begin with? Then again, I guess it’s all in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? Tune in next week to find out what happens next.

So I used Bally not only as a coping mechanism for Joe, but also as a way for his subconscious to reach out to him with things he knew he needed to do—like lockdown the facility and turn off the lights so no one could overtake him.

Another thing I joked about was Cast Away, which I’m sure you figured out already, but Wilson is very much the inspiration for Bally. Yep, Wilson and that guy Tom Hanks played AKA Chuck Noland, played a huge part with how Joe managed to stay sane (if you can even say that) after finally realizing he was most likely going to be alone for the rest of his life.

It might sound silly talking to a ball, but think about how often you talk to yourself or how kids have imaginary friends to play with—and that’s why I don’t think that Cast Away or Bally are too far-fetched. Then again, this is a sci-fi comedy, so I guess it really doesn’t matter how far-fetched it seems.

And that brings us to the end of another chapter.

If you enjoyed what you heard, hit subscribe to continue to get new chapters. Want to get new chapters early? Then join Joe’s Post-Apocalyptic Army at and get up to 4 weeks early a membership. There is even a free level that gives you access to the Podcast or Web Novel one week early.

Join me Wednesdays for a new chapter of Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland

Thanks for joining me on this crazy journey! See you on the flip side!

Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland copyright 2024, Joe Gillis, All rights reserved. This is a Jowagi Production and is distributed by Slacker Entertainment.


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